The Jets lost on Sunday to Miami. It is thus our sad duty to give out an anti-game ball for the week.
The rules of the anti-game ball state that we try to avoid awarding it to the quarterback and repeat recipients whenever possible. The same goes for coaches. Otherwise you could probably spend the entire season handing out this dubious distinction to the worst players on the roster, the quarterback, and the coaches.
This week I am going with kicker Matt Ammendola who missed a pair of field goal attempts in Sunday’s loss to Miami.
I can think of a couple of objections people might have to this so let me preemptively rebut them. Yes, I know Ammendola’s two misses would have accounted for six points. The Jets lost by seven, meaning that these errant kicks did not cost the Jets the game. Well, the anti-game ball doesn’t necessarily go to a single player who costs the team the game. Additionally, if those points are on the board, the game might have played out differently. Imagine the Jets being down 7 on their final possession instead of 10. In fact the approach the teams took to the rest of the game might have changed.
Another criticism of this choice might be that one of Ammendola’s misses was from 55 yards, which isn't a kick you would typically expect a kicker to make. Well the best thing Ammendola has going for him is his big leg. I have heard his ability to kick a long distance is the thing that could make up for him missing shorter kicks. If he can’t make those long range kicks, it doesn’t make up for misses like the one from 40 he also had in the game.
Joe Douglas’ failure to adequately address the kicker position has been one of the most frustrating parts of his tenure. It began from his first game as general manager as Kaare Vedvik’s failures helped to cost the Jets a game against Buffalo.
Building a team is difficult. Finding a kicker is not. In fact it’s one of the few positions around where there is greater supply than demand. Unlike almost any other role on the field, there are more kickers on earth capable of executing competently on the NFL level than there are teams.
If you don’t believe me, consider this. No less than six kickers currently with a field goal percentage of 88.9% or hire have been signed by their current team since the month of August began (including Nick Folk who New England cut to their practice squad at the end of the preseason). That’s right. Almost one-fifth of the league has been able to find a quality kicker off the street since training camp began, but somehow the ability to do so has eluded Joe Douglas for three years.
Giving the anti-game ball to the general manager runs into the same issues as giving it to the worst players, the quarterback, and the coaching staff so Ammendola gets my anti-game ball this week.
Who gets yours?